The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand—despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase—is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
For Books Inc., it's been a long road, and if you trace the lines back to its origins, it's California's oldest bookstore. After striking gold—literally—back in 1851, Anton Roman set up shop as a bookseller. Although the shop moved, was sold, burned down, changed hands again, and was rebuilt, the spirit remained intact, and today, multiple locations of the indie bookstore have sprouted up across The Golden State. Staff members keep the shelves lined with classic and contemporary tomes in all genres, and a myriad of book clubs help keep the love of literature alive. They also run a vibrant event program featuring author events and readings where patrons can enjoy an experience they can't download.
Every day, San Francisco Soup Company’s chefs craft crunchy salads and approximately 12 soups from scratch, keeping an eye on sustainability and seasonality. Both salads and soups showcase organic and locally sourced ingredients such as cage-free eggs from Glaum Egg Ranch and organic milk from Clover Stornetta, and soups cast tendrils of steam from biodegradable containers. San Francisco Soup Company’s commitment to conscious dining extends to the nutritional realms: each recipe comes with nutrition stats, and the menu even designates which soups are gluten-, meat- and dairy-free, and which soup spoons best shield noses from affectionate pinches.
A prismatic array of glaze bottles and sparkling glass pieces form kaleidoscopic patterns for guests to splash across create-your-own pottery and fused-glass masterpieces. Visitors select from stencils, stamps, and samples or select still frames from their dreams to decorate ceramic mugs, figurines, and fused-glass dishes. Staff members set up and clean workspaces, as well as package kits for home pottery-painting parties. This means artists can focus solely on siphoning their imagination into their project. The studio regularly hosts parties and meetings, to which guests are welcome to bring snacks, wine, or milk shakes made of ground-up poems.
As seen in press outlets including the San Mateo County Times, Peninsula Beauty stocks its stores with professional beauty supplies and salon products culled from a sprawling 10,000-square-foot warehouse. An eclectic array of more than 200 brands, from American Crew to OPI, helps men and women transform hair and nails into polished works of aesthetic art. Cosmetics and lotions stand ready to adorn epidermises, and an arsenal of flat- and curling irons allows for more believable quick-changes during impromptu performances of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Fragrance and essential oils lace the air at the Opal'z studio, where soapmakers, candle-craftsmen, and perfume-concoctors spill secrets. Steam billows and nostrils sing as guests fill soap and candle molds with colorful, custom-scented potions. After consultations help them home in on the perfect fragrance, customers alchemize scents and take home glass bottles of their one-of-a-kind scents. Single-session workshops, summer camps, and parties gather aspiring artisans, while a boutique of kits and mini-soaps keeps home studios stocked.